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Genoa freshman qualifies for state

1:00 AM, Oct. 29, 2012 EDT

Port Clinton's Abbi Pitts competes Saturday in the regional cross country meet at Hedges Boyer Park in Tiffin. / Jonathon Bird/News Herald

TIFFIN -- To say Genoa coach Brian Tucker is familiar with success in coaching cross-country is an understatement.

Tucker is a member of the Ohio Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches Hall of Fame and led Bowling Green to consecutive state titles from 2003-2005.

On Saturday, Genoa freshman Carly Gose placed 13th at 20:17.39 at the Tiffin regional to qualify for the 35th annual OHSAA State Cross Country Championships in Division III.

Tucker said that her finish made him happier as a coach than he has ever been.

"I don't think anyone at Bowling Green would be mad at me for saying that, it's almost surreal how well this girl performed," Tucker said. "She's so little, but she's so strong and she knew she would have to kill herself to stay with who she needed to stay with to advance."

Gose said the biggest factor in the race was staying confident.

"I was nervous at the beginning of the race and I knew had to stay confident when I was at the 15th and 16th (positions)," Gose said. "I'm so excited, so happy and so relieved."

Tucker, who has coached for 42 years, took over at Genoa in 2011 to build up the program. At the regional on Saturday, he said he was also pleased with the performance of sophomore Jodi Bays, who placed 54th at 21:42.43.

"Jodi ran her second best time of the year and ran really well," Tucker said.

In the Division II race, Port Clinton was 12th with a score at 293, while No. 1 Akron St. Vincent St. Mary won the regional crown at 27.

For the Redskins girls, Abbi Pitts placed 25th (20:41.65), Claire Zielinski added a 74th (22:06.73), Kennedy Gulas a 77th (22:21.06) and Hannah Weaver was 79th (22:25.5).

The regional meet "is a different level and it was a good experience to see kids like Abbi (Pitts) step up," Port Clinton coach Del Culver said. "It was a great season."

The Redskins regional berth was the second in three years, having qualified in 2010.

In the Division II boys race, Oak Harbor sophomore Tyler Sievert finished 76th (17:40.5) to outpace Sandusky Bay Conference Champion Stephen Shephard, who ended up 110th at 18:33.06.

"He had a really good season and I was looking at stats ... based on his personal best at 16:50 places him at 111th out of a couple thousand runners in the state of Ohio," Rockets coach Eric Buckman said. "He tried to compete at a high level and could not find his footing on the muddy course.

"He fell during the practice before the race and I can't imagine running three miles in those conditions."

In the Division III race, Woodmore finished 15th with a score at 379, while No. 3 Seneca East won the regional meet with a score at 50.

For the Wildcats, Ryan Avers ended 55th (17:52.78) with Kaleb Perez 83rd (18:20.87).

Courtney Burner competed as individual for Woodmore in the girls race, finishing 37th (21:16.96).

Division II

At the Troy regional in Troy, Oak Harbor ended 16th with a score at 405 with top performances coming from Trinity Gephart and Allie Dresser. No. 2 Lexington won the regional title at 47.

Gephart and Dresser finished 65th (21:35.67) and 88th (22:11.13), respectively.

Division III

At the Boardman regional in Youngstown, Put-In-Bay sophomore Elliot Kowalski ended 53rd at 17:54.26.



Port Clinton

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Rank School Record
1 Port Clinton High School
Port Clinton, OH
2 Oak Harbor High School
Oak Harbor, OH
3 Genoa Area High School
Genoa, OH
4 Woodmore JH/High School
Elmore, OH
5 Danbury Schools
Lakeside Marblehead, OH